Ask us about our favorite places

One day Steve & Debbie of the delightful Leaves & Lizards near Arenal invited us for a ride - the river was a short ride from the lodge, a great day was had by all.  And you won't find better hosts than the good people at Leaves.

Here we share with you some years of travel experience in Costa Rica

Whether you travel by map and compass or GPS or naturalist guide or bus or shuttle, we'd love to introduce you to the best of Costa Rica.  Every month or two we try to get out and visit so don't hesitate to ask us - best dinners?  best wildlife? best hosts?  best roads - na!

Costa Rica ain't Disney

Anywhere in the country you will run into wildlife, the Pura Vida works with excellent English speaking naturalist guides to help you.  Biodiversity is up to those who look more carefully. This lovely pair just happened to be sitting by the side of the road on a recent tour in the back country above Arenal.

Surrounded by Beaches

But which beaches should you go to? This one is a little difficult to get to but worth the journey - a huge favorite - Drake Bay while visiting Copa De Arbol. Yes the hotel is even better than the view ("gedoudahere Berni!").

Yes travel in Costa Rica can be "interesting"

Yes that really is a river crossing on the GPS. Do we advise GPS when you drive - yes to save some marriages and no if you want to meet more people and are not so bothered by our abject lack of road signs and creative alternatives to real addresses. It is true, we don't use addresses here.

Touring in the Central Valley & Beyond

Click on the Google Map/top right for a full page

tours and transfers around costa rica
Sterling, our #1 guide with a family trip in the big Toyota
rhino beetles on the road
Some of our roads can be a bit narrow
Costa Rica ox carts on the road to Pura Vida Hotel Alajuela
Just taking in slow above Alajuela
Costa Rica yorkin trip
When all else fails just bail

There are many things to do and see in the Central Valley either with a rent-a-car, a pre-arranged tour or a taxi. We are here to assist you with car rentals, english speaking taxi drivers, private vans, buses to the coast, interplanetary transport and more.

Click on the 1/2 day, 1 day etc submenus for more info.  Don't want to make decisions? Then email or call us for recommendations.

Some Idea of Local Transport Costs:

A taxi ride costs you about $25 to $35 an hour, a 1/2 day guided/organized tour costs $70 to $90 for a van and driver/guide who speaks English and a day trip is $120 to $220.

So Many Things To Do, So Little Time

Many first time guests learn just how much there is to do in Costa Rica and come on back the next year to peel away more layers of this onion. Before heading for the beach stay a day or two in our beautiful central valley and learn the answers to some important questions:

  • Why are there so many shoe stores in Alajuela?
  • Which President accomplished the least? (sometimes a useful trait)
  • Was Irazu Volcano always an extraordinary aqua green?
  • How do you run a country without a real mail service?
  • Why is Braulio Carrillo National Park so difficult to spell?
  • How do you find a plumber on a Friday evening? Any evening?  What is a plumber?
  • What is the REAL reason Costa Rica abolished the army?
  • Why a sense of irony will stand you in good stead at PV?
  • What good is an Assasin Bug?
  • Exactly how many undiscovered ant species are there?

Before we start with the trip ideas, when driving in Costa Rica you can be assured of two things - it will always take longer and you will get lost. Do not worry because Costa Ricans love to be helpful and giving directions is a national pasttime.

If you wake up to the sound of fireworks at 5am, it is either someone having a birthday or it could be a Festival - why not book your trip to coincide with one of the many festivals and cultural events in Costa Rica? Just be aware Christmas it is very hard to find a nice hotel or even a car to rent sometimes so book ahead.

Click to our menus for the things we like (day trips etc)  . . . click on menus for 1/2 day, 1 day and 2 day things to do

Last Minute Gifts

We are not a shopping country (this is the biggest understatement of this web site), so now we have your expectations set appropriately low:

  • Alajuela/Mall Internacional - closest mall, not to be confused with real Malls you may know, pretty awful
  • Pura Vida - Pefi original ceramics from Cartago, Costa Rica, also coffee and some beautiful Borucan masks as well as carvings from Freddy Acuna
  • Best Indigenous Art/Crafts Store - check out the Namu Gallery in San Jose for authentic stuff (but it is 30 to 40 mins away)
  • Sachi - the woodcrafts town of Costa Rica (but it is 30 mins away)
  • Alajuela Market/Mercado Central - you wont find much but its a delight & youll have an excellent sensory experience